Dancers at the Barre, c.1880-1900 by Edgar Degas


Dancers at the Barre, c.1880-1900


Edgar Degas

Ref GM3166
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 12" x 16" (30 x 40 cm)
Price Add to basket
Edgar Degas (1834–1917) was a passionate devotee of ballet—he knew the dancers, the music, and the choreography. He pursued the subject for over 40 years through almost all mediums, creating over 1,500 works devoted to the anatomy, posture, and movement of dancers. The impressionist master’s relentless experiments with movement and dance culminated in Dancers at the Barre (early 1880s–c. 1900). Early in 2007, Head of Conservation Elizabeth Steele set out to rescue Dancers at the Barre. The painting’s aging varnish, flaking paint, and years of airborne grime endangered its structural stability and diminished its aesthetic appearance. Steele restored a lustrous palette of bright blue, white, and black against a flaming orange background, and located an inscription on the canvas indicating it was begun around 1884 .It was also discovered that Degas cut the canvas down after the painting was underway, repositioned the dancers’ arms and legs at several times, and daubed paint on a dancer’s neck with his thumb. These discoveries indicate that he began the painting before 1884, but returned to it several times over the next two decades, intensifying its color palette and repositioning and blurring the contours of the figures. Degas often produced studies for individual dancers or small groups then combined their figures in new compositions. Occasionally, he stripped away costume to deepen his understanding of anatomy and posture. Dancers at the Barre is reunited with full-scale pastel and charcoal sketches of its dancers shown individually and together, nude and clothed, for the first time since they were in the artist’s possession.